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Majestic Robben helps Netherlands edge thriller against brave Wales

Sam Barnard, Assistant Sports Editor | November 13, 2015

Wales 2-3 Netherlands

  • Young Lawrence impresses for Wales
  • Dost breaks deadlock and gets maiden Netherlands goal
  • Ledley equalises just before the break after Allen misses penalty
  • Robben eventually finds net to put Dutch back ahead
  • Dragons levelled again through Huws’ header
  • Late Robben strike wins it for Clockwork Orange

Slow start but Dutch come through thriller

On a cold, rainy November evening in Cardiff, it certainly took a while before either side got going, but the match eventually brightened up, and in the end it was a thriller as the two sides played out a highly entertaining encounter.

Wales had the first effort on 19 minutes with Joe Allen and young Tom Lawrence combining well, and it was the latter, currently on loan at Blackburn from Leicester City, who had the final shot as he wrong-footed the defender. Unfortunately for the ex-Manchester United youth product, though, he just couldn’t find enough power.

Arjen Robben had the Netherlands’ first meaningful chance after the 27th minute but, having recently returned from injury, it was understandable that he was just wide with his curler on the edge of the area.

That only seemed to spur on Wales, however, and moments later Lawrence, wearing his nation’s number 11 in the absence of Gareth Bale, connected better this time, although couldn’t quite find the target and shot past the post.

Wolfsburg’s Dost bags opener

Big Bas Dost, though, who has been so prolific for club Wolfsburg in recent seasons, opened the scoring and thus his Netherlands account with a superb header to beat Wayne Hennessey after Newcastle United full back Daryl Janmaat’s pin-point cross.

Just before the break, Spartak Moscow winger Quincy Promes had a good chance to double his side’s lead, though could only shoot straight at the Dragons keeper.

He was certainly left to rue that opportunity moments later, as the hosts earned themselves a penalty after Terence Kongolo hand-balled from a corner.

Ledley pounces on Allen penalty miss

It was Allen, who has never scored for Wales, who took the spot-kick, which was saved, but Joe Ledley ensured that the two sides went into half-time level after converting the rebound.

Clockwork Orange got out the blocks far quicker in the second-half, and it was only a brilliant save from Hennessey that stopped an on-target Robben this time from scoring.

It was third time lucky for the Bayern Munich superstar, and he found the net in trademark fashion, cutting in from the right to whip the ball into the goal.

Wales substitute George Williams could and should have drew the scores level again just after the half-hour mark, but the Fulham youngster shot wide after just managing to get on the end of a deflected cross from close range.

Huws comes on to head home

However, it was another young replacement, Huddersfield Town’s Emyr Huws, who did find the net in the 71st minute. He rose above all to head home and spark rapturous cheers from the home crowd.

Wales continued to attack, though it was Robben again with the next chance, but thankfully for the hosts he couldn’t find the target with his close-range volley.

Once more, however, he put things right in the 81st minute by going through on goal one-on-one with long-awaited debutant keeper Owain Fon Williams, who came on as a late sub, and slotted it in.

Netherlands eventually held on to gain a late confidence-boosting victory, but in the end it won’t matter for Wales who know they were without a number of top talent such as Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey.

Chris Coleman’s Dragons proved that they can compete with the top teams even when missing key players, and certainly have nothing to be ashamed of in this Euro 2016 warm-up, with Clockwork Orange will miss out on.

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